Are You Poisoning Yourself?

We’ve all got a story right? I mean, you’ve been through hard stuff, so have I. Here’s something written by someone close to me about his reaction to life’s unfairness.
Man with head in hands at sunset

There’s been one simple, insidious phrase that’s been hurting me and holding me back in every area of my life. Here it is:

“Easy for YOU to say…you:
…have more time than I do.
…have more money than I do.
…are smarter than I am.

…are luckier than I am.
…have better genetics than I do for that.
…are more naturally disciplined than I am.
…are more talented than I am.
…had better opportunities than I did, early in life.
…are in better shape than I am.
…live in a better area than I do.
…know the right people.

I could go on, but you get the idea. It actually physically hurts me to write this, because it’s seems so petty now that I’ve written it down (as these things usually do).

The truth is, when I say this phrase, it’s often said with a mental sneer, a sort of perverse pride in my shortcomings. There’s a weird sense of belonging in thinking “I’m suffering like a lot of other people I know.”

There’s also a little resentment towards the person I’m thinking or saying it to. And, underneath it all, lies a certain degree of self-loathing and shame.

I don’t know about you guys, but there have been MANY times in my life when I’ve looked on and admired other people for who they are, what they’ve accomplished, what they’re like mentally or spiritually – and felt totally inadequate by comparison.

It’s an almost constant presence in my life, gnawing at the back of my mind.

The foolishness and pride of that way of thinking has caused me to miss precious opportunities for growth, discovery and abundance. The fear of falling short has often prevented me from even trying to be better.

Well I say: NO MORE.

I will struggle and fight and do my utmost to replace this negative pattern with a positive one.

I choose to feel joy, rather than envy. I choose to be inspired, rather than to feel inadequate. I will NOT let this way of thinking poison my life ANY MORE.

The Great Comparison Trap

Comparing yourself to others is something God warns us against. In fact, Christ told Peter that John’s circumstances were none of his business. We were never created to have the same experience as everyone else.

Some of us live like Job – simply to be the one to praise God through all the pain, injustice and sacrifice – all the time. Others are there to show how God blesses and keeps and sustains us with gifts and rewards and general good stuff all our lives. (Yeah, go ahead and list those people – we all know them.)

Then there are those whose lives represent God’s forgiveness when we fail and fail and fail again. Those are the people with the “great testimonies,” right? The one who stands and says proudly that without God in heaven, their pastor praying, and that one man on the street at just the right moment – they would still be in the gutter begging for drug money.

The rest of us are somewhere in between, just struggling daily to know what it means to follow Christ. Failing some, and glorifying God some. But we all have days of joy and nights of sorrow.

The poison comes when we only see (or choose to see) the days of joy in others.

The blessings they receive that we did not. When you justify your failures by comparing your blessings with others, then you are choosing to poison yourself (and likely those around you) with thoughts that turn to words and then actions.

How Following Christ Really Works

You know, don’t you, that as you choose to follow Christ, you are choosing His path for you. You really don’t get to pick what that looks like as if you were decorating your home.
Nope. It goes like this:

  • A. He loves you.
  • B. So you love Him.
  • C. He calls you.
  • D. You choose to follow (duh!).
  • E. He places a path in front of you.
  • F. *Before time* He has designed your path has coordinated it with His overall plan for your good and His glory.
  • (Perhaps I should have put this first, but anyway, we generally realize it down the road a bit.)

Final Words (finally, right?)

Your life is not for you to simply try to live right. It’s made exactly for you. When you stay on God’s path you will:

  • Know the Father in heaven who loves you.
  • Grow in His strength.
  • Work some amazing love in the lives of those around you.
  • Shine His light to those still in the darkness.

Life may seem unfair. Don’t believe that lie. Do NOT be defeated by all those excuses listed by my friend above. In fact, scientific research is uncovering the neural damage caused by negative words. They truly poison your mind and the minds of those listening.

Life is a gift. God’s gift to you. And, as are all things from God, it’s a GOOD gift.

Take a moment to list your blessings (this is every single good thing ever to happen in your life including indoor plumbing and your favorite book) and realize that if He loves you enough to gift you with these things, and He loves you enough to keep you with Him all through eternity, then He is to be trusted with all you have. And with every word you speak.

Sometimes, we just need to speak life instead of spewing poison.

“Speak Life”
by Toby Mack

Some days, life feels perfect.
Other days it just ain’t workin.
The good, the bad, the right, the wrong
And everything in between.

Though it’s crazy, amazing
We can turn a heart with the words we say.
Mountains crumble with every syllable.
Hope can live or die

So speak Life, speak Life.
To the deadest darkest night.
Speak life, speak Life.
When the sun won’t shine and you don’t know why.
Look into the eyes of the brokenhearted;
Watch them come alive as soon as you speak hope,
You speak love, you speak…
You speak Life,

Some days the tongue gets twisted;
Other days my thoughts just fall apart.
I do, I don’t, I will, I won’t,
It’s like I’m drowning in the deep.

Well it’s crazy to imagine,
Words from our lips as the arms of compassion,
Mountains crumble with every syllable.
Hope can live or die.

Lift your head a little higher,
Spread the love like fire,
Hope will fall like rain,
When you speak life with the words you say.

Raise your thoughts a little higher,
Use your words to inspire,
Joy will fall like rain,
When you speak life with the things you say.

So speak Life, speak Life.
To the deadest darkest night.
Speak life, speak Life.
When the sun won’t shine and you don’t know why.
Look into the eyes of the brokenhearted;
Watch them come alive as soon as you speak hope,
You speak love, you speak…
You speak Life.

Some days life feels perfect.

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